Everyone loves a good cheeseboard. Whether you’re hosting a large party or an intimate gathering for just a few friends, imported cheeses are always a welcome addition to the menu. With interesting textures and complex flavors to explore, a beautifully-styled international cheeseboard is a great conversation starter, treating your guests to the romance of a world class cheese tasting experience.
How to build a cheeseboard
An imported cheeseboard should feature between 3 and 6 cheeses from a balanced range of styles. To best savor their flavors, textures, and aromas, remove cheeses from the refrigerator one hour prior to serving. Plan about 1-1/2 ounces of cheese per guest.
I like to anchor the board with a familiar flavor or two that everyone will easily recognize. Cheddar is a great choice, as is a Swiss-style cheese, such as Emmental (both pictured here).
Every great international cheeseboard should include an aged or sharp cheese. These cheeses range in flavor from tangy to nutty and have a firm, often crumbly, texture. Aged Cheddar falls into this category, as do Aged Asiago (pictured) and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Add contrast to the board with the mild flavor and buttery texture of at least one semi-soft or semi-hard cheese. Gouda (pictured) is a classic example of a semi-soft cheese, as are the Emmental mentioned earlier, Havarti, and Fontina.
No imported cheeseboard would be complete without a creamy, bloomy rind cheese, such as Brie (pictured) or Camembert. These cheeses are rich, luxurious, and pair especially well with fruit or sweet condiments that accompany your board.
Don’t forget something Blue! This is a great place to have fun and offer something “funky” to your guests. There are so many different blue varieties to choose from, ranging in pungency from delicate to “stinky.” Remember, if you’ve chosen a cheese that’s particularly aromatic, move it to a separate plate so it doesn’t permeate milder flavors.
What to serve with a cheeseboard
Add color to your cheeseboard and complement the cheeses with a balanced selection of accoutrements. This is the finishing touch to creating a beautifully-styled, Instagram-worthy board with your own personal flair.
Offer 3-5 sweet and savory options such as fruit, olives, charcuterie, nuts, and preserves. These can be mixed and matched to highlight different flavors in the cheeses. Think: Brie with a fruit compote, Blue with figs and a drizzle of honey, Aged Asiago with dried sausages, or Cheddar with spicy mustard. The combinations are endless, and your guests will have fun trying different pairings to see which they love the most.
Complete your board with crackers, breadsticks, or slices of baguette. I like to choose neutral varieties that won’t compete with the flavors of the cheeses.
Any accompaniments you choose should enhance the board, not overpower it. Remember that your imported cheeses are the star of the show!